UNGA 2020: Italy’s Conte says movement towards peace in Libya ‘encouraging’

The Italian Prime Minister called for humanitarian work conducted by the UN and Italy in Libya to continue

Giuseppe Conte, Italy's prime minister, speaks during the United Nations General Assembly seen on a laptop computer in Hastings on the Hudson, New York, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. The United Nations General Assembly met in a virtual environment for the first time in its 75-year history due to the pandemic. Photographer: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg
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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said tentative developments in Libya towards peace are encouraging in his address to the UN General Assembly.

“Today, we can look with hope to the timid but encouraging developments in the peace process in Libya,” Mr Conte told the UN General Assembly on Friday.

“Its chances of success are tied to two factors, the respect of the Libyan people's ownership of an inclusive solution and the essential mediation role of the United Nations,” the Italian leader added.

Mr Conte called for humanitarian work conducted by the UN and Italy in Libya to continue.

“They complement that path toward a political solution, the only solution that can guarantee lasting peace and stability for Libya,” he said.

Sightline with Tim Marshall - UNGA in the midst of Covid pandemic

Sightline with Tim Marshall - UNGA in the midst of Covid pandemic

Libya has been plagued by internecine violence and instability since the 2011 uprising and subsequent Nato-backed intervention that toppled 40-year ruler Muammar Al Qaddafi.

Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, played a pivotal role in the military effort against Qaddafi in 2011.

In 2014 the country descended into a civil war which has pitted eastern and western factions against each other.

In August of this year, the two sides in the conflict agreed to a ceasefire. At Montreux in Switzerland earlier this month, talks, under UN auspices, brought agreement on the creation of a unity government and subsequent elections. Mr Conte welcomed these steps.

“The ceasefire, despite its fragility, has finally reopened the space for intra-Libyan dialogue. And the recent talks in Montreux send a strong signal that we must heed and protect. There is no better way to sustain peace than to show its advantages to the very peoples touched by the conflict,” he said.

The Italian prime minister called for the restarting of oil production across Libya, which has been crippled by the conflict.

“The next step to take in Libya will be to allow for a resumption of oil production throughout the country, promoting an equitable management of resources to the benefit of the entire, and I mean entire, Libyan population,” he added.

Mr Conte also used his speech to praise the efforts of the Italian people during the coronavirus pandemic. Italy was initially the worst hit country in Europe by the disease.

“Italy was the first country in Europe and in the West to have faced the emergency on a large scale,” he said.

“Our country has overcome with determination the most acute phase of the health emergency, building on the experience gained directly on the ground, on the frontline, in hospital corridors and research laboratories, efforts that we today wish to share in a reinvigorated multilateral system with the United Nations at its core,” he said.